Leadership Programs

Cotton Australia sponsors a range of leadership programs aimed at building the skills and abilities of cotton industry people from potential to established leaders. The programs are reviewed regularly. The number of places available are subject to budget availability.

Some of the programs include:

  • Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships
  • Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program
  • Australian Rural Leadership Foundation's Australian Rural Leadership Program and TRAIL emerging leaders program
  • Australian Future Cotton Leaders Program
  • Young Farming Champions Program
  • Represent Your Industry – Leadership Development Initiative

See below for details.

Represent Your Industry - Leadership Development Initiative - 2018-2020

The Represent Your Industry initiative is a three-year program. It is led by Cotton Australia with funding support from the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.

The key goal of the program is to support cotton growers in developing their leadership skills and to enable them to communicate and influence industry change.  Key topics will include:

  • Governance
  • Advocacy
  • Industry development
  • Strategic thinking and planning
  • Leadership
  • Communication

The program utilises an integrated delivery platform including a face-to-face forum, online group and individual activities, as well as access to a podcast series.  A cornerstone of the program is a two-level mentoring program, which will see an additional 40 growers across regions participate in local knowledge and skill development activities with a current program participant.

In 2019, the focus will be on the Cotton20 Leadership Program. 

In 2020, the program will expand to the Irrigation20 Leadership Program and involve growers from other irrigated industries.

In 2019 and 2020, a Cotton Australia hosted Irrigated Industries Forum will take place. The goal of this forum will be to share key initiatives and identify issues and opportunities that can be worked on across the cotton and irrigated industries sectors.

For more information contact Cotton Australia’s Paul Sloman, email: cotton20@cotton.org.au or phone: 0448 094 883

Nuffield Farming Scholarship

The Nuffield Scholarship is for outstanding farmers, owners or managers between 28-40 to pursue an area of agricultural study internationally and at home. The scholarship involves tenure of 16 weeks over a period of two years. It also includes a travel bursary of $30,000, international travel (the longest of which is 6 weeks duration), the rare chances to meet top farmers, and decision makers in a range of continents and the opportunity to be part of a global network of outstanding farmers.

The process for being awarded a Scholarship includes an application and interview process. 

A Nuffield Australia scholarship is supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

Peter Cullen Trust Science to Policy Leadership Program

The Peter Cullen Trust’s mission is to support leaders who are highly motivated, knowledgeable and skilled in bringing about positive change in water and catchment management in Australia. The Science to Policy leadership program is for those working in science, policy or the management of water whether river, rural or urban.

The program offers:

  • engagement with current leaders in science, policy and political spheres
  • greater understanding of the policy development process and the role of science in this process
  • the development of leadership qualities so that participants can be better equipped to make a difference in water system management,
  • improved skills in effective communication in policy and political environments
  • mentoring and support to become a mentor
  • ongoing opportunities to network with the water industry leaders known as the Friends of the Peter Cullen Trust

Cotton industry-sponsored Peter Cullen Trust Fellows: Adam Harris, Juanita Hamparsum, Susan Madden, Brendon Warnock, Brendon Barry, Jane Trindall and Luke Stower

“I have changed profoundly during this course. I look forward to influencing water policy for as long as I am able.”
Brendon Warnock, 2012 Program Graduate

Australian Rural Leadership Program

The Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) is for established leaders currently working in or for the cotton industry, who are committed to extending their knowledge, understanding and leadership skills, in order to be more effective and influential. The course is delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

ARLP is for leaders who provide products and services of a material, social, cultural, economic or environmental nature; or offer policy support, advocacy, or expertise that contributes to development and resilience in the cotton industry and rural communities.
It is a 59 day program, delivered in six sessions over 17 months. Five of these sessions take place in locations across Australia, and one component takes place overseas. Group size is 30 to 35 leaders.
The ARLP aims to produce a network of informed, capable and ethical leaders who are able to work collaboratively to advance the interests of their industries, businesses, communities and rural Australia in general.  

  • For more information: click here

  • Course 24 ran from August 2017 - October 2018

  • Cotton Industry sponsored ARLP graduates: Sean Boland, Jamie Iker, Elizabeth Stott, Brooke Summers, Sharon Downes, David Wigginton, Paula Jones, Harvey Gaynor and Paul McVeigh

TRAIL for emerging leaders

Training Rural Australians In Leadership (TRAIL program) is an eight-day cross-sector leadership program set in Canberra for Australia’s future rural leaders. The course is delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

If you are interested in learning how to be an effective leader in rural Australia, this program will give you key skills and insights you can apply immediately – as a leader and team member.

It focuses on:

  • facilitating strategic thinking
  • successful conversations
  • advocacy, influence and political processes
  • communication and presentation skills
  • effective and constructive collaboration

TRAIL is for emerging rural leaders who want to increase their foundational leadership knowledge, gain exposure to key role models and develop partnerships with peers for long-term networking and support.

  • For more information: click here
  • Applications are open all year round and courses are held on a yearly basis in April
  • Cotton industry-sponsored part TRAIL participants: Emma McCullogh

Australian Future Cotton Leaders Program 

The Australian Future Cotton Leaders Program is an initiative of Cotton Australia in partnership with the Cotton Research Development Corporation.
It is recognized as the premier leadership development program for the Australian cotton industry. Up to 15 participants are involved in the program over a 1 year period. 

The Future Cotton Leaders program is a national leadership program for Australia’s future cotton leaders. The program has four key stages

  1. Leadership Development
  2. Individual Skill Application and Project Goal
  3. Leading Change
  4. Contributing to Industry

The Australian Future Cotton Leaders Program is an innovative program supporting individual commitment to creating and leading change in the Australian cotton industry.  The program is designed to assist and work with you to develop, implement and evaluate your own leadership development project with the ongoing support of your own leadership facilitator and industry partner/ mentor.

“Do yourself a favour and jump at this opportunity!  This course is more a journey, its challenging, confronting, motivating all in one, and better yet you get to work alongside some of the brightest young people in the industry. This course really helped me plant my feet, it gives you the ability to learn about all different functions of the industry and provides you with really great friendships along the way. On a personal note, it can be life changing. You learn about yourself, your present environment, your goals, and most importantly how you can reach them. I encourage you to give this a go, it provides you with confidence & esteem to open your eyes to bigger things & to an array of people to help you along your very own journey”.
Amy Billsborough, Goondiwindi

  • Applications open: the beginning of every second year on the years that the Australian Cotton Conference occurs (2016, 2018, 2020, and so on)

Young Farming Champions

The Young Farming Champions program is for young people involved in the cotton industry (from 19-24 years old) who are:

  • passionate about the cotton industry;
  • wanting  to share their positive agricultural stories with urban Australians to improve their understanding of sustainable food and fibre production, and in turn improve your understanding of urban consumers;
  • interested in being trained to speak confidently and charismatically to school students, the general public and your fellow industry leaders;
  • wanting to become part of a network of vibrant, young rural people who are encouraging consumers to value, be proud of and support the Australian farmers

The program consists of three workshops which will prepare you to engage with schools as part of the Archibull Prize.

  • For more Information: click here for the YFC website, and click here for the Cotton Australia YFC flyer
  • ​Cotton industry-sponsored YFC profiles: Kirsty McCormack, Richard Quigley, Billy Browning, Tamsin Quirk, Elizabeth Lobsey, Ben Egan, Martin Murray, Naomi Mulligan, Alexander Stephen, Dwayne Schubert, Laura Bennett and James Kanaley